TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Allies of former President Donald Trump have filed a grievance with the Florida Commission on Ethics accusing Gov. Ron DeSantis, a number one potential 2024 main rival, of violating marketing campaign finance and ethics guidelines with a shadow run for the White House.
The 15-page grievance filed Wednesday by MAGA Inc., a Trump-supporting tremendous PAC, and shared with The Associated Press asks the fee to analyze Florida’s Republican chief for allegedly “leveraging his elected office and breaching his associated duties in a coordinated effort to develop his national profile, enrich himself and his political allies, and influence the national electorate.”
It says DeSantis is “already a de facto candidate for President of the United States,” citing the governor’s conferences with donors, outreach by allies to potential workers and his courting of influential Republicans in early-voting states, amongst different efforts. The grievance asks the nine-member fee — 5 of whose members had been appointed by DeSantis — to punish the governor by having him suspended from workplace, publicly censured or fined.
DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske dismissed the accusations and questioned the motives of the grievance. “Adding this to the list of frivolous and politically motivated attacks. It’s inappropriate to use state ethics complaints for partisan purposes,” she stated in a press release.
The letter comes as Trump has stepped up his criticism of DeSantis, whom the ex-president’s marketing campaign sees as his most critical rival for the 2024 GOP nomination. Trump has tried to belittle DeSantis with nicknames and has centered on the governor’s previous coverage positions, together with Florida’s early COVID-19 restrictions and his votes on Social Security whereas he was a member of Congress.
Trump himself confronted comparable criticism earlier than asserting his personal candidacy in November, accused of violating federal marketing campaign legal guidelines by elevating and spending cash for a run forward of a proper 2024 marketing campaign launch. He was by no means reprimanded or fined consequently.
While DeSantis has not but formally introduced a 2024 marketing campaign, he’s broadly anticipated to take action after Florida’s legislative session ends in May. In the meantime, he has traveled to early-voting states to advertise his new ebook and has met with donors. His staff has held casual conversations with potential marketing campaign workers.
Ethics Commission spokesperson Lynn Blaise stated the company just isn’t allowed to acknowledge any complaints acquired till a grievance reaches a degree the place it may be made public.
In addition to the 5 fee members appointed by DeSantis, the remaining 4 had been appointed by the Senate president and House speaker — each allies of the governor.
Complaints usually don’t see the sunshine of day until launched by the individual submitting it. The fee doesn’t make complaints or materials public till they’re dismissed or until possible trigger is decided, with a purpose to defend the privateness of its topic.
If the fee finds the grievance is legitimate, it might situation a advantageous or a reprimand, however can’t take away an elected official from workplace. It can suggest the governor droop an elected official for violating ethics legal guidelines, however that might imply DeSantis taking that motion in opposition to himself if a violation had been discovered.
The course of is usually utilized by campaigns to lift questions on an opponent by making the grievance public, though many are resolved or dismissed with out the fee discovering a violation. It is illegitimate in Florida to file a grievance with malicious intent and false claims. The fee can advantageous violators, who may also be ordered to pay a defendant’s authorized charges.